Morning transfer to the train station for the three-hour train to Salzburg. Arrival in Salzburg, where your personal driver will welcome you for transfer to your deluxe hotel in the city center.
After check-in and some time to settle in, your English-speaking guide will meet you in the hotel lobby at 2 PM for this afternoon’s overview walking tour of historic Salzburg. Salzburg's Old Town with its world famous baroque architecture is one of the best-preserved city centers in Europe and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Hohensalzburg fortress, strategically located on a hill overlooking the old town, is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Originally built in the 11th century as a simple bailey with wooden walls, the structure was gradually expanded and strengthened in the following centuries. Because the fortress actually never came under a military siege and was surrendered without a fight to Napoleon’s army, this is one of the best-preserved castles in Europe.
You will also see the Salzburg Cathedral, a 17th-century Baroque building which was the site of Mozart's baptism. The church is dedicated to St. Rupert – Salzburg’s patron saint. According to a legend, St. Rupert was the founder of the city, as in the 7th Century he chose to start his Christian mission on the site of an old Roman settlement and called it Salzburg (Salt Castle) after the barges which carried salt from the local salt mines and across the Salzach River.
St. Rupert also founded the Benedictine St. Peter’s abbey, the oldest monastery in Austria. The Romanesque abbey church, still in use today, was dedicated in the 12th Century. Its interiors were refurbished in the Rococo style in the 18th Century. The abbey also houses the oldest library in Austria including 800 ancient manuscripts and some 100,000 volumes, focusing on medieval church history, art history, and items relating to the local history of Salzburg,
Salzburg’s most famous son is of course Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and you will get a chance to visit his birthplace, if you are interested. Mozart’s father was a member of the prince’s chamber orchestra and young Amadeus learned to play the harpsichord at the age of 3. By the age of 5 he was already writing his first compositions. During his short life, Mozart wrote over 50 symphonies and 15 operas, but he died debt-ridden at age 35 and was buried in a mass grave.
Later today, if time allows, you might also like to see the Mirabell Palace, located on the bank of the Salzach River, which was supposedly built by a local archbishop for his Jewish mistress. The palace gardens house the Baroque Museum, featuring an extensive collection of artifacts from the 17th – 18th Century.